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Father of suspected Manchester bomber says son is innocent
CAIRO (AP) - The father of the 22-year-old Briton who police say bombed a concert in Manchester insisted Wednesday that his son was innocent and just had been preparing to go on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Ramadan Abedi, 51, also known by his nom de guerre of Abu Ismail, spoke to The Associated Press by phone from the Libyan city of Tripoli. He confirmed that his other son, Ismail, had been arrested Tuesday around Manchester by British authorities in the concert attack probe. "We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," the senior Abedi said. "We aren't the ones who blow up ourselves among innocents.


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'We can use peace': Trump and Pope Francis meet
VATICAN CITY (AP) - President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe. Trump, midway through a grueling nine-day, maiden international journey, called upon the pontiff in a private, 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol. Neither man, unquestionably two of the most famous in the world, repeated their prior criticism of the other. The statements released afterward were deliberately vague and contained only hints of areas of disagreement. Trump smiled broadly, the pope smiled less, but both agreed, at least for a day, to settle on the same message: the need to avoid conflict.


Why Melania Trump covers her head one day but not the next
WASHINGTON (AP) - To cover up or not to cover up? Melania Trump wore a veil to the Vatican on Wednesday to meet the pope, but not to an earlier meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia. Why the difference? The answer is a mix of personal preference, diplomatic protocol and religious dictates. Vatican protocol says women meeting the pope must wear long sleeves, formal black clothing and a veil to cover their head - rules that aren't strictly enforced. Many women show up to meet the pope without covering their heads. Mrs. Trump is Catholic. In Saudi Arabia, most Western women don't cover up the way Saudi women and female residents do.


Budget office set to release report on House GOP health bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - Keeping former President Barack Obama's health care law is "completely unacceptable and totally unsustainable," the Senate's top Republican said Wednesday as the two parties braced for a Congressional Budget Office report on a House-passed bill overhauling that statute. The budget office, lawmakers' nonpartisan fiscal analyst, planned to release an analysis Wednesday of the impact the GOP-written House bill would have on coverage, consumers' costs and the federal budget. Its two March reports on earlier versions of the bill projected it would leave 24 million additional people uninsured in a decade, a mammoth number that pushed Republicans onto the defensive.


Trump team eyes public asset sales to pay for infrastructure
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's advisers are drafting plans to sell some public assets, such as airports, to help pay for a $1 trillion overhaul of the nation's aging infrastructure. Trump in his budget proposal called for spending $200 billion over a decade to spur private, state and local spending on roads, bridges, highway rest stops and more. An administration spokeswoman said Trump's advisers are drafting plans to encourage states and localities to sell off some assets by paying those governments a bonus for doing so. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that under the still-being-written plan, the proceeds from those sales would help modernize the nation's aging infrastructure.


A third of older Latinos have tapped into retirement savings
CHICAGO (AP) - Suddenly jobless and with small children to support, Jose Victor Camargo without hesitation cashed out a retirement account he had with his former employer. That was more than a decade ago, and the father of three used the money to pay for rent and stay afloat until he found another job. "We are always in need, so I used the money," he said in Spanish. "We were struggling. We tried to make the money stretch." An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that older Latinos are more likely than older whites or older blacks to say they've had to withdraw or borrow money from a retirement account - 34 percent for Latinos compared with 24 percent for whites and 25 percent for blacks.


Pope to first lady: what are you feeding Trump?
BIZELJSKO, Slovenia (AP) - Thanks to Pope Francis and the U.S. first lady, a traditional Slovenian dish is hitting the headlines. As Melania Trump approached and shook hands with the pontiff on Wednesday, Francis asked in Spanish through his interpreter and pointed toward President Donald Trump: "What do you give him to eat? Potica?" She looked puzzled at first, as did reporters, apparently thinking the pope was talking about pizza. But then the first lady seemed to understand that he meant potica (pronounced paw-tee'-tzah). "Potica, ah yes," the Slovenian-born first lady smiled before stepping aside, still looking a bit confused. Slovenia's public broadcaster carried the news on its website in its entertainment section.


South Dakota girl with cancer prevented from graduating
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A western South Dakota high school won't allow a student who has brain cancer to walk at graduation because she is six credits short of being able to officially graduate. The Rapid City Journal reports 17-year-old Meredith Erck wasn't sure whether she would live to see graduation day. The Central High School student had colon cancer before she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015. Between surgeries and recovery, she couldn't complete all of her classes on time. Rapid City school district officials said in a statement that her participation without credit completion "diminishes the accomplishments of the graduates." Meredith is expected to finish her remaining credits before the end of the next academic year.